Merriam-Webster defines “Failure” as a lack of success.
What things have happened in your life that have made you feel like a failure? A relationship that didn’t work out? A job you didn’t get? A job you got fired from? A promotion you didn’t get? A weight loss goal you didn’t make? A bad food decision you chose? Were all of these things a lack of success? Yes. Do they define who you are? Absolutely not! The word failure has such a negative connotation. However, it doesn’t have to be.
One of my favorite quotes about failure is by Catherine Pulsifer. She says “If you accept failure as an opportunity to learn, it will change your whole perspective.” I try to see failure as an opportunity to try again, but in a different way. To me, it’s absolutely a learning experience. The problem with feeling like a failure, though, is that sometimes it stops you in your tracks from trying again. But, the only person that suffers from doing that is you. Instead of letting it hold you back from something that you truly want, find a different way to go about getting what you want. Use the failure to your advantage.
Here’s an example. I was never trained as a salesperson. Oh, I worked sales when I was a teenager working at a bookstore. But I was never taught how to push products. At my part-time job, I 100% believe in what I’m selling and I know the product like the back of my hand. But, when it comes time to sell that product, I tend to stutter, say um a lot, etc. I don’t know why I do that, because I am completely confident in what I’m selling. But, I guess I’m just not confident in my own ability to sell it. Today I was given the goal to make $60. Unfortunately, I was only able to make $30. The immediate feeling was one of failure. Which is ok, because I DID fail to make the full $60. Now, I could wallow in it all night and think about all day until tomorrow night when I’m back at work and have to once again sell. And if I do that, and convince myself that I’m a failure, then what are the chances I’m going to meet tomorrow’s goal? Pretty slim. Because my confidence would be even lower. Even though I HAD made $30. I HAD sold. So, instead of looking at myself as a failure, instead I’m choosing to use it as a learning experience. What can I do better tomorrow? What skills do I have that I can use? Which ones do I need to work on? Because the next time I have a goal to make $60, dammit, I WILL make $60. Ok, maybe I’ll only make $40. But someday I WILL make $60. Because I am no failure.
And neither are YOU!!! So, the next time you fail at something, remind yourself that a failure doesn’t define you. It energizes you to try, try again.